A young Port Alberni hockey player has been drafted to the Western Hockey League (WHL).
Defenceman Caden Tremblay was selected in the eighth round, 163rd overall, by the Medicine Hat Tigers during the 2020 WHL Bamtam Draft on Wednesday, April 22. The draft was held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are really excited about this group,” said Tigers director of player personnel Bobby Fox in a press release. “If you combine the last two drafts, we certainly feel we have a contender moving forward.”
Tremblay, who played for the North Island Major Bantam Silvertips during the 2019-2020 season, said he was feeling “excited” after the draft on Wednesday.
“I spoke with the head coach, Willie Desjardins, earlier today,” he said. “He asked me how I was doing. I was really excited to get to talk to him.”
Tremblay had “a pretty good feeling” about getting drafted after his career year with the Silvertips. He notched five goals and 22 assists in 30 games before the season was shut down by COVID-19 prior to the start of playoffs.
“It was a good year personally,” Tremblay said. “I had a lot of fun with the group of guys.”
Silvertips’ head coach Brad Knight said he wasn’t surprised to hear Tremblay’s name called.
“He had a fantastic year,” Knight said. “He really developed into a real high-end, two-way defenceman. He has a lot of the characteristics that the Western Hockey League looks at and he was able to showcase them well.”
Tremblay was a standout player off the ice, as well, said Knight. He was the captain for the North Island Silvertips for the 2019-2020 season, and Knight said it was a “natural” choice.
“You could just tell from the get-go, he had natural leadership skills,” Knight said. “All the other guys looked up to him.”
Because the Silvertips team is located in Nanaimo, Tremblay was commuting five or six days a week while also attending high school at Alberni District Secondary School.
“It was a change,” he admitted. “I was doing homework at school and in the car on the ride home. But it was a good change and another opportunity.”
His goal next season is to make the Silvertips’ major midget team.
Earlier this month, Tremblay and his fellow Port Alberni Silvertips teammate Aidan See were both named to the U15 AAA All-Star Team by BC Hockey. See was also named BC Hockey’s U15 AAA Player of the Year.
“The town of Port Alberni has been producing a lot of great players lately,” said Knight. “I’m not sure what [the Alberni Valley Minor Hockey Association] is doing, but they’ve done a great job.”